Dir. Katja Duregger, Germany, 2017, 52mins
Screening as part of Doc’n Roll Film Festival
Doc ‘N Roll Is the UK’s music documentary film festival. Discovering, supporting and exhibiting compelling music stories.
Focusing on the phenomenon of her extraordinary voice, this film pays tribute to ‘The First Lady of Song’, Ella Fitzgerald.
Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is a phenomenon that remains unrivalled to this day. She had absolute pitch and perfect intonation. Ella’s voice spanned three octaves, her phrasing seemed effortless, and the odd moments in her nearly sixty-year career when she sang off-key were few and far between.
There is almost no style of music in which she did not excel, and her numerous – now legendary – recordings of the ‘Great American Songbook’ with pieces by US composers such as George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter or Duke Ellington remain a benchmark for generations of singers. Ira Gershwin is rumoured to have said: “I didn’t realise how good our songs were until Ella sang them.”
We unravel the secret of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice with statements from singers Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater, jazz drummer and producer Terri Lyne Carrington, jazz violinist Regina Carter, author Tad Hershorn and the famous jazz critic Will Friedwald, among others. They describe the impact her voice had and continues to have on their lives. This insightful documentary delves into Ella’s life and uncovers what made her sing in her inimitable style.
F-Rating is a new rating for films directed by women, written by women and/or with significant female characters on screen, in their own right.